Was Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Season the Best…Ever?

Image via Zennie62/Flickr
Image via Zennie62/Flickr

In a few hours Florida State QB Jameis Winston will be crowned the winner of the 2013 Heisman trophy, becoming just the second freshman (Case Keenum Johnny Manziel being the other) to earn that distinction.  While it is difficult to argue that anyone else has been more impressive in 2013, I am curious about how Winston stacks up to other 19 year old college QBs.  As you read in Tyler Wilson and the curse of the old QB, age DOES matter when evaluating college prospects, so let’s take a look at the greatest 19 year old quarterback seasons in my database.

jameis-winston

NOTE: These numbers are based on games played against bowl-eligible opponents.  Click here to read more about this methodology.

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Hundley, Brett 2012 19 UCLA PAC12 56% 65.4% 4.8 8.6
Moore, Kellen 2008 19 Boise St WAC 86% 68.0% 2.3 8.5
Mariota, Marcus 2012 19 Oregon Pac12 56% 66.2% 6.3 8.5
Kolb, Kevin 2003 19 Houston CUSA 57% 56.9% 3.3 8.3
Smith, Alex 2003 19 Utah MWC 33% 63.9% 3.5 7.8
Keeton, Chuckie 2012 19 Utah St WAC 67% 63.2% 9.0 7.7
Leak, Chris 2004 19 Florida SEC 67% 55.6% 2.5 7.3
Stafford, Matt 2007 19 Georgia SEC 63% 56.7% 1.6 7.3
Golson, Everett 2012 19 Notre Dame IND 10% 57.2% 1.4 6.7
Henne, Chad 2004 19 Michigan Big Ten 63% 59.6% 2.1 6.4

Hands down, no debating, Winston’s 2013 season was the best 19 year old QB season ever.  His Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A) was 51% better than the second best player and it’s not like this list is a bunch of nobodies.  Kolb, Smith, Stafford, and Henne were round 1-2 selections.  Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley will likely continue that trend when they declare.  Impressive stuff.

Understanding that Winston is a young phenom, let’s see how he stacks up to the best passers in ACC (recent) history.

QB Year Age College Conf. % multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Rivers, Philip 2003 22 NC State ACC 78% 69.4% 6.3 9.5
Hamilton, Joe 1999 22 Georgia Tech ACC 71% 65.3% 2.0 9.0
Druckenmiller, Jim 1996 24 Virginia Tech ACC 67% 57.5% 3.7 8.9
Harris, Jacory 2011 21 Miami (FL) ACC 71% 63.0% 2.8 8.8
Taylor, Tyrod 2010 21 Virginia Tech ACC 56% 57.4% 3.8 8.8
Boyd, Tajh 2013 23 Clemson ACC 43% 65.5% 1.9 8.7
Yates, TJ 2008 21 UNC ACC 50% 57.5% 3.0 8.7
Vick, Michael 2000 20 Virginia Tech ACC 25% 55.5% 1.8 8.7
Weinke, Chris 2000 28 Florida St ACC 70% 57.3% 2.0 8.6
Ponder, Christian 2009 21 Florida St ACC 57% 70.2% 2.6 8.4
Wilson, Russell 2009 21 NC State ACC 57% 57.8% 3.4 8.4

Again, Jameis Winston finds himself comfortably atop a list that includes four first round picks and a handful of other strong players.

Ok, I hear you saying “but his team is so dominant blah blah blah.”  Ok, fine.  Let’s compare Winston’s performance against quarterbacks from the most dominant teams of the BCS era…

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Tebow, Tim 2008 21 Florida SEC 82% 64.2% 7.7 10.4
Young, Vince 2005 22 Texas BIG12 88% 69.0% 3.0 10.1
Leinart, Matt 2004 21 USC Pac12 86% 61.6% 7.0 10.1

Let’s remember that Leinart won the Heisman and a national championship that year, VY should have won the Heisman and DID win a national championship.  Tebow was coming off a Heisman and also won the NC.  So, even if you’re trying to discount his performance because of his team, he clearly outperformed others in that same situation.

Thus far we’ve established that Winston’s 2013 was the best 19 year old season, the best ACC season, and the best season among QBs on dominant, title-contending teams.  To the final question: Was Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Season the Best…Ever?  Here’s a look at the highest graded QB seasons in my database of more than 500+ college seasons.  Of the 11 other quarterbacks on this list, seven were first round picks and nine were drafted in the first three rounds.

QB Year Age College Conf. % Multi-TD pass games Comp % TD:INT AY/A
Winston, Jameis 2013 19 Florida St ACC 86% 72.3% 3.7 13.0
Petty, Bryce 2013 22 Baylor Big12 100% 59.2% 19.1 12.6
Griffin, Robert 2011 21 Baylor BIG12 67% 69.5% 5.0 11.5
McNown, Cade 1998 21 UCLA Pac12 71% 58.6% 2.7 10.8
Bradford, Sam 2008 21 Oklahoma Big12 100% 68.3% 4.9 10.6
Smith, Akili 1998 23 Oregon Pac12 67% 53.9% 3.3 10.5
Wilson, Russell 2011 23 Wisconsin Big Ten 89% 69.9% 5.0 10.5
Smith, Alex 2004 20 Utah MWC 80% 69.6% 7.0 10.3
Tebow, Tim 2009 22 Florida SEC 40% 68.5% 5.6 10.2
Moore, Kellen 2010 21 Boise St WAC 100% 68.7% 5.3 10.2
Kolb, Kevin 2006 22 Houston CUSA 71% 65.5% 15.0 10.1
Young, Vince 2005 22 Texas BIG12 88% 69.0% 3.0 10.1

While I am far from declaring Jameis Winston to be the greatest prospect or greatest college quarterback, I think it’s fair to say that his 2013 might have been the greatest college QB season of all time.  I know that’s a bold claim, but no matter how I slice it, I can’t come to any other conclusion.

If you thought this article was stupid, awesome, or somewhere in between continue this conversation with me on Google+ or Twitter.

Advertisements

One thought on “Was Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Season the Best…Ever?

  1. Pingback: Baylor QB Bryce Petty was a Heisman snub, is an NFL Draft idiot | The College Football Experiment

Comments are closed.